Shepherding

How to Stop the Downward Spiral

Last night, I had the honor of chatting with the lovely ladies over at Mommy Jammies about getting our emotions under control, and learning to submit them to the cross of Christ. If you missed it, you can listen to the recording here.

We had a great time, and there were some deep, deep questions asked afterward that I know you've probably wondered about, too. The entire recording is less than an hour, so while you're prepping for lunch today, check it out.

During the podcast, I also offered a discount code for my book on this topic, How to Control Your Emotions, So They Don't Control You: A Mom's Guide to Overcoming! Use the code "nomoreangrymob" at checkout to get it for just $1.99 (regularly $3.99)! It'll end tomorrow (5/15/14).On sale today only (5/14/14) for just $1.99!

On June 2, 2014 the No. More. Angry MOB Facebook group (a closed group for moms who want to kick this habit and choose grace...now over 3,000 moms strong) will start a book study of How to Control Your Emotions, so after you grab the book, come on over to the group and request to join so you can go through it with us!

And one last thing?

I'll be presenting on this topic this weekend at the Washington, DC Teach Them Diligently Convention (Thursday night). If you're coming, come see me? And make sure you introduce yourself! I would love to meet you!

what to do with hard-to-handle boys

I've been working on this for you for a few weeks now, because I know we all need hope and encouragement that these boys we're raising won't always be so hard-to-handle. H2HChallenge 600

I'd love for you to join me in my newest 5-day challenge for mothers of boys! To learn more about this free resource, please head over to the MOB Society blog right away!

Here's what one mom had to say:

"Thank you for sharing your heart. This gives me courage to continue loving my hard to love son, who I fight for everyday, waiting for it all to click. Waiting for him to understand all the relational dos and donts...Waiting for the imprint of God's hand to be revealed on my sweet boy's heart." ~TL

We Will Be Hope Warriors

When my two uncles, friend, aunt, grandfather, and baby all died in a six year period it occurred to me that it might be easy to lose hope. I didn't lose it easily for other people. I still prayed for good things in the lives of my friends, and I still asked the Lord to move in situations outside of our family. But I did struggle with wondering if God had decided not to be good to me anymore. During that season—many, many times during that season—I wrestled with a persistent feeling of expectant grief and lost hope.

Like I was waiting for the next sucker punch of life.

I lived that way—like the next major loss was hiding around the bend—for several years. Even smaller losses crumbled me, like totaling my car, or losing our beloved English Bulldog, and in many ways, I felt like God was being silent. I couldn't hear Him well, my times with Him in His Word were dry, and when I wrote here in this space it was raw and fragile. I wore weariness like a straight-jacket, all bundled up inside of my low expectations and heartfelt disappointment.

Thankfully, things have changed.

I'm still easily emotional. I still have a gut response to take things personally, and I still wonder how God can seem so far away even when He says He's so close. But in the last two years I've realized the secret behind why a man (or woman) can say of the Lord, "Though He slay me, I will hope in Him (Job 13:15, ESV).

Hope is a Choice

Weariness is a feeling. Grab onto that for a second with me?

Today, I choose hope. I will be a Hope Warrior, and fight for it with everything I have.

Hope is a choice. Weariness is a feeling. 

Feelings can lie, and they don't have to direct our lives. But we women, we get a little feisty when someone tells us our feelings are wrong, don't we? We say things like, "don't tell me how to feel," and, "I can't change the way I feel!" But the truth is, if our feelings don't match up with the Word of God, something needs to change. Only one source can be 100% right, and I've walked this road long enough now to know that when I feel the most right, I'm probably wrong—in presentation, if not in truth.

If my feelings and the Bible don't match up, what needs to change? Me.

Here's where the application comes...

During my season of grief, I often felt like God wasn't there, like He didn't see me, didn't hear my prayers, didn't care. But the Bible says all of those feelings I had were wrong. It doesn't negate my feelings to know they're wrong—I very much felt alone, and unheard, even a bit unloved—the Bible simply tells me a different story.

God loves me, hears me, sees me, and yes, is fighting for me, even if I can't see it. 

I believe it's true, because God's Word says it's true. And it's that simple truth that kept me from staying in a place of perpetual hopelessness.

"I'm not trying to say our emotions are always wrong or that we don’t have a right to our own feelings. Sometimes our emotions are very good, alerting us to danger, or revealing a deeper issue within our own hearts that needs attention, healing, and the grace of God. But they certainly can be wrong . . . or at least in need of tweaking. God gave us emotions as a barometer—they tell us both what's happening in our hearts and in our surroundings. Sometimes, they're right on the money, but more often than not, they need to come under the authority of the Word of God." (From How to Control Your Emotions, So They Don't Control You: A Mom's Guide to Overcoming).

Oh, my weary friend, I know you feel like giving up sometimes. I know you feel like God is far away, and that maybe He doesn't really care about what you're going through. But it simply isn't true. He sent His Son to die for you, to prove His love, and really, what more could He sacrifice to prove it than to give up Himself? He loves you...and today?

Today, I'd like to start a hope revolution.

A movement that says, "WE WILL CHOOSE HOPE! We will be hope warriors—fighting, clinging, desperately holding to the truth of God's Word that says He loves us, and is fighting for us, even when we can't see it or feel it."

Why could Job choose hope? Because He knew who God was. He trusted God's character in spite of great loss, great disappointment, great grief. He chose to believe in things unseen, and trust in truth over feelings. We can, too.

We can fight for hope with everything we have. And as we choose to believe what God's Word says about our lives over what our circumstances tell us, no matter how horrible they are at the moment (remember the story of Job), we'll find that our feelings will follow suit. I don't write this as a woman who has never known pain, or heart-wrenching loss. I write it as a woman who knows loss and disappointment, and has come out on the other side.

This is the secret to joy in the midst of pain. This is the secret to overcoming on a daily basis. This is the secret to finding, and keeping, hope.

Today, I choose hope. I will be a Hope Warrior, and fight for it with everything I have. I hope you'll join me. (<<---Tweet that!)

Pray with me, friend?

Jesus, help me. I do believe, Lord, help my unbelief (Mark 9:24)! Sometimes, when I just can't see You, or feel You near, I lose hope. But today, with your help, I choose hope. I will be a Hope Warrior. Help me fight for it with everything I have. In Jesus' Name. Amen.

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Why a Weary Mom Can Keep Fighting

I had a fight at obscene-thirty in the morning. Maybe it was because I was alone in the hotel room, and felt vulnerable. Or maybe it was because I'd had my breath taken away with an insult two days before, and was fighting to hear the word of God over hurtful words. Or maybe it was just that I held the weight of 120 women in my heart who had come to us for hope.

Whatever the reason, I was in a fight with the enemy of my soul at about 5:30 in the morning and I was determined to win.

I'd spent the day before telling mamas not to give up...to keep fighting for their children. During my Hope for the Weary Mom talk with Stacey Thacker, I'd shared the story of how God told me my children needed someone to fight for them, and that He'd chosen that person to be me. It's a powerful story...I know it is because it's one of my most tweeted posts here...and one that He reminds me of every time I throw my hands up in the air and want to quit.

Brooke and Stacey in NY

But there I was, lying in the bed, feeling the temptation to quit fighting. 

I've fought the fiery darts of the enemy for a lifetime—fear of being hurt, fear of rejection, fear of failure. But the difference between now and ten years ago is that I know what to do with it.

Fight Anyway

It occurred to me though, as I laid there in the bed telling the enemy where to go, that I hadn't told those mamas who filled up the chairs, packed the floor, sat in the closet, and spilled out the doors into the hallway during our session, why they can keep fighting.

It's one thing to tell her to keep fighting. But when a mama is having her moment...when she's done, deflated, depressed, and ready to denounce motherhood altogether...she needs to know why she can. Because it doesn't feel like she can (<<---Tweet that!)

Why can a mama keep fighting for her children, even when every ounce of her fight is gone?

She can fight for her children, because God is fighting for her. 

"And Moses said to the people, “Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will work for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall never see again. The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.” Exodus 14:13-14 ESV

Do you remember what it felt like to have your mom or dad cup your face in their hands and tell you they believed in you? Or maybe a good friend just looked you in the eyes one day and said, "I've got your back."

It's kind of like that, only much better, because this time, the person who's on your side, fighting for you in ways you can't even understand, is God Almighty—the one who loved you so much He let His Son suffer and die in your place.

  • When you're convinced that thing you just did is going to be the thing your daughter talks about with her therapist later in life, He's fighting for you, giving you strength to go ask for forgiveness.
  • When you can't imagine going back in that house, back to the noise, back to the bickering, back to the same thing every single day...He's fighting for you, giving you energy to open the door.
  • When that loved one sucker-punches you with words meant to crucify, not edify, He's fighting for you, making His word and His heart available to help you choose the truth.
  • When you're scared and vulnerable, He's fighting for you, protecting you within His will.

God is on your side. He loves you. You're the apple of His eye. He's got your back.

So you keep fighting, mama, because the God of the universe is fighting for you

Pray with me, friend?

Lord, sometimes I want to quit fighting altogether. I don't know why life has to be so hard, or why people have to be so mean, but I know You're there fighting with me, for me, and in me to give me hope and the strength to be victorious. Help me to never give up. In Jesus' Name, amen.

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P.S. I stole that photo from Stacey's IG account, but I know she doesn't care. And yes, we've been told we look a little alike in it. We think it's the glasses.

what in the WORLD do I do about Lent?

And what is Lent, anyway? I didn't grow up in a church that observed Lent, and because of that, even as an adult, I sometimes still struggle to grasp the full meaning of it. I mean, about five years ago I decided to give up watching Days of Our Lives for Lent, and I've never gone back (don't judge me...it's the only one I ever watched, and they felt like family).  But really, giving something up has been the extent of my knowledge of Lent.

I know I'm supposed to feel the lack of what I give up. Somehow, it's supposed to make me feel closer to Christ and prepare me for a more meaningful Easter. But honestly, there's got to be more to it, right?

Enter this amazing Easter resource from my friend, Amanda White:

A Sense of the Resurrection

Here's why I'm pumped to start this study:

  1. Amanda is amazing. I've gotten the chance to get to know her a little better over the last couple of years. Her heart for kids, and showing them the power of the Gospel, is nothing short of inspiring. She's the real deal. She desperately loves Jesus, desperately loves kids, and she knows what she's talking about. In other words, I believe you can trust her.
  2. If you've done Truth in the Tinsel (we did for the first time last Advent season), you just know that this one will be amazing too. And while it's a totally different study, Amanda's heart to help your family experience the Word of God is the same. I believe my boys walked away from last Christmas with a better understanding of what it truly is than ever before—because of Truth in the Tinsel.
  3. I'm personally all in favor of experiencing a deeper, richer Easter season. I want my boys to think of it as more than just an opportunity to hunt eggs and eat chocolate.

So grab your copy of A Sense of the Resurrection right now. The good news is that you can start anytime. The even better news is that it's only $7.99. Best eight bucks you'll spend all day. Promise.

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